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Aoraki Mt Cook Middle Pk


Note that the height of the Middle Peak used here is taken from the University of Otago 2014 survey. The peak hasn’t undergone the same ice cap changes as the High Peak; the 11-metre discrepancy with the earlier height is mostly due to greater precision in the survey.

POINT (170.14440536 -43.60339174)
BX15 695 682
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Reference Title Grade Length Pro Quality Operations
 Middle Peak Route, 4+,VI 4+,VI

Ascend a rock rib directly below the Middle Peak that leads to steep snowfields between the prominent icecliff under Porter Col and the icecliff on the Hooker Face.

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 4+
  • Alpine (Commitment) VI

 Porter Col Route, 3,IV 3,IV

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 3
  • Alpine (Commitment) IV

From the Upper Empress Shelf, ascend snowslopes and gain a short steep gully to the right of a large icecliff which leads to the col between the Middle and Low Peaks. This is a regular descent route (but often requires abseils on the first steep section). There is usually a schrund just above the col beneath the Middle Peak which is suitable for bivouacs (‘Middle Peak Hotel’, was the scene of Mark Inglis and Phil Doole’s epic fortnight survival in 1982).

 East Ridge, 3+,V 3+,V

  • P1
  • Alpine (Technical) 3+
  • Alpine (Commitment) V

A classic ice climb, perhaps the finest in New Zealand. The East Ridge joins Aoraki’s summit ridge about 200m south of Middle Peak. The lower section of the ridge can be gained at a number of points. The conventional routes are: i) From Cinerama Col, avoid the first 200m via the Plateau side, then head up slopes to gain the ridge. Follow the arête on up. ii) Via the shelf below the East Face gain a snow ramp leading out left onto the ridge below a rock step before a prominent level section on the ridge (This section can be gained directly from the shelf). Beyond the level section, follow up the winding arête that merges into the upper Caroline Face and finishes near the Middle Peak. Ice on the upper section of the route is often hard.

Alex Palman